Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced his appointment of Del Walters as director of CAL FIRE.
“With more than 30 years of service at CAL FIRE, Del Walters is the perfect person to head our state’s firefighting efforts,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Playing a key role in combating the 2007 and 2008 firestorms, he has the experience and leadership capabilities to implement the highest standards of fire prevention and fire fighting while ensuring all Californians are protected. Under Del’s leadership, I am confident that the state will continue to be prepared to respond to the intense year-round fire seasons we now face.”
Walters has served as the executive officer for CAL FIRE since 2008. He began his career as a firefighter in 1971. Prior to promoting to executive officer, he was the assistant region chief then staff chief of operations for the Northern Region. Prior to that, Walters was the deputy chief for the Shasta-Trinity Unit. He previously worked for the Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit as the assistant chief of administration, battalion chief, vegetation management program coordinator forester I and fire captain. He has also served as a fire captain, fire apparatus engineer and firefighter for the San Benito-Monterey Unit. Walters has been a California State Peace Officer since 1986.
“I am honored to serve the people of California in this new role,” said Del Walters. “I look forward to working with the Governor to continue our fire prevention and protection efforts while preparing Californians for the extraordinary fire seasons our state faces.” [Don’t forget about forestry]
Walters, 54, of Redding, received his Bachelor of Science degree in forest resource management from Humboldt State University. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $174,096. Walters is a Democrat.
As CAL FIRE’S Director, Walters will oversee 5,500 full-time and seasonal employees. CAL FIRE is dedicated to the fire protection and stewardship of more than 31 million acres of California’s privately-owned wildlands. In addition, the department provides various emergency services in 36 of the State’s 58 counties via contracts with local governments. CAL FIRE firefighters, fire engines, and aircraft respond to an average of more than 5,700 wildland fires each year. Those fires burn nearly 170,000 acres annually.
I’ve known Del for most of my time with CDF, er Cal Fire. He’s competent and clear-headed. I wish him all the best. It’s nice to see one of the good guys get the job.